Why are armed police at Birmingham’s German Christmas Market?

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Police will be stepping up patrols at the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market this year

The Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market is now up and running.

From traditional gifts to bratwurst sausages and mulled wine, there’s something for everyone and it’s a brilliant way to get in the festive spirit with family and friends.

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And with more visitors and shoppers heading into the city to enjoy the market and the other festive events in the run-up to Christmas, West Midlands Police have announced that they will be stepping up our patrols in the city centre.

The force said that plain-clothed officers will be working to spot anybody breaking the law or acting suspiciously, while dogs unit and drones teams will also be utilised as part of the operation. Police said they will also be carrying out armed patrols to tackle criminal activity at the market and during the festive period.

The force is also working with Frankfurt Christmas Market security staff and stall holders to share information during daily briefings, while Safer Travel police teams will be patrolling the buses, trains and trams coming in and out of the city.

Armed police first went went on patrol at the German Market in 2017. Millions are expected to visit the festive spectacle over the coming weeks before the market closes on December 23.

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Police attending this year’s Christmas marketPolice attending this year’s Christmas market
Police attending this year’s Christmas market | West Midlands Police

What has West Midlands Police said about armed patrols at the German Christmas Market in Birmingham?

Superintendent Sallie Churchill, who’s responsible for policing at this year’s market, said: “As always, we can’t wait to welcome the Frankfurt Christmas Market and the many, many visitors it attracts each year. We will have extra officers in and around the Market and the wider city centre keeping visitors and traders safe and they’ll also be on hand to help anybody who has any concerns.

“Throughout the year we carry out Project Servator patrols which uses armed officers amongst others to provide a high-visibility presence to deter and disrupt criminal activity and this will be no different over the 2022 festive period.

“Our patrols and officers will be across the whole of the city centre, taking in all its Christmas attractions including the ice rink and big wheel in Centenary Square, as well as at all our other towns and cities which are hosting festive markets and events.

“Don’t worry if you don’t always spot our officers though, as there’ll be plain-clothes activity going on as well, along with CCTV monitoring, to help ensure we’ve got eyes and ears where we need them.

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“Whilst festive attractions bring joy to millions, sadly we also know that a tiny minority of people may be out to commit crime - particularly pickpocket style offences. With such a vast amount of people visiting seasonal attractions, we’d encourage everyone to stay alert and to tuck away personal belongings, especially mobile phones and wallets.

“We want everyone who comes to visit the German Christmas Market, and all the festive events Birmingham and the West Midlands has to offer, to have a good time, so we’d encourage people to stay safe and enjoy the festivities.”

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